Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* The latest national Monmouth poll asked Republican respondents to name their top choice in the presidential race, without being presented with options. Donald Trump led Gov. Ron DeSantis, 43% to 19%, and no other GOP contender topped 3%. As recently as December, this same pollster found DeSantis leading Trump, 39% to 26%.
* Speaking of the Florida governor, NBC News had a good report yesterday on DeSantis’ administration “quietly” changing state guidelines to make it easier for him to move millions of dollars from a state-level political committee to a super PAC helping his presidential campaign.
* Remember J.R. Majewski, the Ohio Republican whose congressional campaign was derailed after he was caught lying about his military service? He was poised to try again in 2024 anyway, but yesterday, Majewski withdrew, pointing to a family illness.
* Sources close to former Gov. Chris Christie confirmed to NBC News that the New Jersey Republican will kick off his 2024 presidential campaign on Tuesday in New Hampshire. In the 2016 race, New Hampshire was Christie’s best state — and he finished sixth.
* Amidst speculation that Gov. Glenn Youngkin is still eyeing a possible national candidacy, the Virginia Republican announced this morning that he’s deploying 100 troops to the U.S./Mexico border.
* Most of the GOP presidential candidates were quick to criticize the bipartisan budget deal pending on Capitol Hill, but former Gov. Asa Hutchinson was the exception: The Arkansan praised House Speaker Kevin McCarthy during an MSNBC appearance, saying the House leader “has done an excellent job in shepherding this for the Republican majority in Congress.”
* And The Daily Beast had a good report yesterday, noting leading Republican U.S. Senate candidates in Montana, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio and West Virginia who had some unkind things to say about Donald Trump, and who aren’t sure what to do about that record now.